whole mercantile town and the country in its 
neighbourhood. Over-trading is the common 
cause of it. Sober men, whose projects have 
been disproportioned to their capitals, are as 
likely to have neither wherewithal to buy money
nor credit to borrow it, as prodigals
whose expense has been disproportioned to 
their revenue. Before their projects can be 
brought to bear, their stock is gone, and 
credit with it. They run about everywhere 
to borrow money, and everybody tells them 
that they have none to lend. Even such general 
complaints of the scarcity of money do 
not always prove that the usual number of 
gold and silver pieces are not circulating in 
the country, but that many people want those 
pieces who have nothing to give for them. 
When the profits of trade happen to be greater 
than ordinary over-trading becomes a general 
error, both among great and small dealers
They do not always send more money 
abroad than usual, but they buy upon credit
both at home and abroad, an unusual quantity 
of goods, which they send to some distant 
market, in hopes that the returns will come in 
before the demand for payment. The demand 
comes before the returns, and they have nothing 
at hand with which they can either purchase 
money or give solid security for borrowing. 
It is not any scarcity of gold and silver, 
but the difficulty which such people find in 
borrowing, and which their creditor find in 
getting payment, that occasions the general 
complaint of the scarcity of money
It would be too ridiculous to go about seriously 
to prove, that wealth does not consist 
in money, or in gold and silver; but in what 
money purchases, and is valuable only for purchasing
Money, no doubt, makes always a 
part of the national capital; but it has already 
been shown that it generally makes but a 
small part, and always the most unprofitable 
part of it. 
It is not because wealth consists more essentially 
in money than in goods, that the 
merchant finds it generally more easy to buy 
goods with money, than to buy money with 
goods; but because money is the known and 
established instrument of commerce, for which 
every thing is readily given in exchange, but 
which is not always with equal readiness to 
be got in exchange for every thing. The 
greater part of goods, besides, are more perishable 
than money, and he may frequently 
sustain a much greater loss by keeping them. 
When his goods are upon hand, too, he is 
more liable to such demands for money as he 
may not be able to answer, than when he has 
got their price in his coffers. Over and above 
all this, his profit arises more directly from 
selling than from buying; and he is, upon 
all these accounts, generally much more anxious 
to exchange his goods for money than his 
money for goods. But though a particular 
merchant, with abundance of goods in his 
warehouse, may sometimes be ruined by not 
being able to sell them in time, a nation or 
country is not liable to the same accident. 
The whole capital of a merchant frequently 
consists in perishable goods destined for purchasing 
money. But it is but a very small 
part of the annual produce of the land and labour 
of a country, which can ever be destined 
for purchasing gold and silver from their 
neighbours. The far greater part is circulated 
and consumed among themselves; and 
even of the surplus which is sent abroad, the 
greater part is generally destined for the purchase 
of other foreign goods. Though gold 
and silver, therefore, could not be had in exchange 
for the goods destined to purchase 
them, the nation would not be ruined. It 
might, indeed, suffer some loss and inconveniency
and be forced upon some of those expedients 
which are necessary for supplying the 
place of money. The annual produce of its 
land and labour, however, would be the same, 
or very nearly the same as usual; because the 
same, or very nearly the same consumable capital 
would be employed in maintaining it. 
And though goods do not always draw money 
so readily as money draws goods, in the long-run 
they draw it more necessarily than even 
it draws them. Goods can serve many other 
purposes besides purchasing money, but money 
can serve no other purpose besides purchasing 
goods. Money, therefore, necessarily 
runs after goods, but goods do not always 
necessarily run after money. The man who 
buys, does not always mean to sell again, but 
frequently to use or to consume; whereas he 
who sells always means to buy again. The 
one may frequently have done the whole, but 
the other can never have done more than the 
one half of his business. It is not for its 
own sake that men desire money, but for the 
sake of what they can purchase with it. 
Consumable commodities, it is said, are soon 
destroyed; whereas gold and silver are of a 
the more durable nature, and were it not for this 
continual exportation, might be accumulated 
for ages together, to the incredible augmentation 
of the real wealth of the country. Nothing, 
therefore, it is pretended, can be more 
disadvantageous to any country, than the trade 
which consists in the exchange of such lasting 
for such perishable commodities. We do not, 
however, reckon that trade disadvantageous
which consists in the exchange of the hardware 
of England for the wines of France, 
and yet hardware is a very durable commodity, 
and were it not for this continual exportation
might too be accumulated for ages together, 
to the incredible augmentation of the 
pots and pans of the country. But it readily 
occurs, that the number of such utensils is in 
every country necessarily limited by the use 
which there is for them; that it would be absurd 
to have more pots and pans than were 
necessary for cooking the victuals usually consumed